Google, Verizon Throttling Talks Progress

LAKE TAHOE, CALIF.: Google CEO Eric Schmidt would not go into specifics, but he told reporters at the Techonomy conference that the technology giant’s talks with Verizon were about bridging the gap between absolute positions on net neutrality.

Network neutrality is the principle that all data should be treated equally by ISPs and broadband service providers. Some providers argue that they should have the right to prioritize data to improve service, by slowing some video or VoIP services, for instance, or by pushing some data more quickly if content creators are willing to underwrite the speed boost.

According to Ina Fried’s “Beyond Binary” blog on C|NET, Schmidt said that while he believes content should be treated in a neutral manner by network providers, there would be room to prioritize types of content, for example routing VoIP traffic ahead of video content.

Earlier in the week, The New York Times reported that Google and Verizon were nearing an agreement that could see a prioritization of some Google content, YouTube videos, for example, to Verizon customers. According to the Times report, the agreement could lead to a tiered system for speedier access to Internet content.

The talks come after the FCC was stymied in its effort to reclassify broadband services as a common carrier, which would have given the commission more leeway in regulating how network operators conduct their business.

UPDATE: (2:24 p.m. Aug. 5)
Google has denied having any conversations with Verizon about paying for carriage of its traffic, tweeting via @googlepubpolicy: "@NYTimes is wrong. We've not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet."